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Maybe He Just Likes You

por Barbara Dee

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When boys in her class start touching seventh-grader Mila and making her feel uncomfortable, she does not want to tell her friends or mother until she reaches her breaking point.
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Representation: Black, Asian and Latina characters
Trigger warnings: Physical assault, child abuse and implied injury, sexual harassment, bullying, sexism
Score: Seven out of ten.

For a book targeted at a younger audience this was surprisingly heavy. I can't believe this one isn't YA. Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee circled my recommendations until I saw it on a library shelf and picked it up. I headed in with high expectations, and when I closed the final page, it was enjoyable, yet flawed.

It starts with Mila recounting her life at school when she notices something, the boys, like Callum, sometimes hug her without consent and for a strangely long time, a few seconds too long. Mila doesn't know what this feeling is yet for the first opening pages, but what she does know is this isn't flirting. This is something else, despite her peers calling her reactions immature and over-the-top. Mila drives the central storyline with her character development of realising what sexual harassment is. Why didn't she tell anyone about this? I presume she didn't have the words yet. Or another reason.

I'm glad Dee put in effort by also making her see words are better than actions, which made me like her, despite her flaws. The pacing is enough to keep the plot going, with a length below 300 pages, but I sometimes feel a lot is going on. Mila has a lot of character dynamics with her friends, like Mila and Naomi and people she prefers not to interact, like Callum, and Dee dedicated lots of subplots to them, like the one about her mother attending an exercise program, but it detracts from the narrative.

The writing style is okay, except for one choice: if Mila (and therefore Dee) can say Asian, like in the term Asian American, why can't she say Black or Latina? Like others, Maybe He Just Likes You solely focuses on characters' experiences based on gender, but there's no intersectionality, which felt like a missed opportunity given the cast is diverse. The concluding pages are engaging though, as I get to see the satisfying end of Mila's arc.
( )
  Law_Books600 | May 19, 2024 |
Warning: there is reference to a gay character; however, this plays a very minor role in the whole story. Sexual harassment is discussed in the book so parents should be aware of the subject and be prepared to discuss with their children. The author does a great job giving examples throughout the story without sexual descriptions or graphic content.
  MamaBearLendingDen | Apr 4, 2024 |
Book 6 of 7 read for the Cybils Awards round two judging! Review withheld until after the awards. Stay tuned!
  GRgenius | Jul 31, 2022 |
As Mila is just starting to get used to 7th grade, she notices that several of the boys have been finding excuses to touch her in ways that she believes are inappropriate. They have also been making comments that give her a strange feeling in her stomach. Mila is afraid to tell her mom because she is having her own troubles at work. Her friends try to be supportive, but they either blame her for what is happening or believe that she needs to tell someone and get help. However, every time Mila tries to tell one of the staff at her school, she is misunderstood, leading to more problems. Mila has tried walking away or ignoring the boys, but they just won't leave her alone.
Maybe He Just Likes You is a book that should be read by every middle school teacher and student. The emotions that Mila feels are extremely familiar and easily identifiable to anyone who has been through middle school. Bullying and sexual harassment are woven into the plot of the story so that any young person who is experiencing the same thing can learn strategies to make it stop. My only complaint about the book is that the resolution is a little too easily achieved, but overall, a very timely story with an important message delivered in a way that young and old can understand. ( )
  ftbooklover | Oct 12, 2021 |
Mila is stumped on what to do when a group of basketball boys start to put her in uncomfortable situations. She tries many of the things she has been told to do - ignoring them, speak up, tell an adult. But none of it is effective and she feels kind of embarrassed and uncomfortable telling anyone what is going on. Then she finds out these boys can earn points and are playing a game with this. She resorts to a big public statement to eventually be heard.
I don't know that I've read a middle grade book that covers this ground previously. Mila is a strong, determined character stuck in a situation she doesn't know what to do with. Some friends disappoint her and others emerge. A new activity, karate, and some strong female role models help too.
A quick read. ( )
  ewyatt | Nov 1, 2020 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Barbara Deeautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Rankin, EmilyNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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For my son Josh
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When boys in her class start touching seventh-grader Mila and making her feel uncomfortable, she does not want to tell her friends or mother until she reaches her breaking point.

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